Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Stilt Sandpiper...

Here's a record shot of the adult Stilt Sandpiper at Cresswell Pond this afternoon in the wind and rain. It showed distantly yesterday, but much better today in the fields north of the pond. The Sandpiper and the Pratincole have made it a pretty good few days for me recently! 2 Spoonbills, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Whimbrel were also at the pond.

Note: When I put the photo into blogger it was somehow saturated. The bird doesn't look as blue in the flesh as in the photo!

Stilt Sandpiper

Monday, 28 July 2014

Second Pratincole of July

After a fairly relaxed trip to Bothal this afternoon which turned up an adult Black-necked Grebe, I wasn't expecting much more excitement. It looked to be that way until we heard that a Collared Pratincole had been found close to home at Castle Island. As soon as we heard the news we were on our way.
We arrived and there it was! There was still a bit of debate as to whether it was a Collared or Oriental, but soon everyone was certain it was an adult Collared Pratincole. After giving some great views on the ground it flew off north-west and out of sight.

About fifteen minutes later it returned and flew around, providing us with some superb flight views and photo opportunities. It even called briefly at one point.

Other birds at Castle Island included a Little Egret, 7 Black-tailed Godwits and at least one Common Sandpiper.

Collared Pratincole

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Recent sightings

On Monday we decided to have a look at East Cramlington Pond for dragonflies. There were plenty on the wing with at least 10 Ruddy Darters being the highlight. Plenty of Azure, Emerald and Blue-tailed Damselflies were also there.

Later in the day I had a cricket match in Corbridge, so we took the opportunity to have a look in Slaley Forest for Nightjars. Sure enough we heard and saw a couple of Nightjars, as well as Woodcocks and a Cuckoo. Barn and Long-eared Owls were also in the area.

At Cresswell on Tuesday there was: a Ruff, a Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Knot, 6 Avocet, a Whimbrel and 10 Black-tailed Godwits. A Wood Sandpiper was on my patch, Bothal Pond.

Ruddy Darters

Emerald Damselfly

Azure Damselfly

Sunday, 6 July 2014


Yesterday morning I woke up and saw that a pratincole sp. had been found at Hurworth Burn Reservoir in Co. Durham. When the news came that it was a Black-winged I wanted to see it even more, as what had been presumably this bird had made a disappointingly short stop not far from my home. The only problem was that we had arrangements in the morning, so would it stay until the afternoon?

Thankfully it did and after some problems parking, we were soon enjoying some good scope views of the adult BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE. It often spent time hunkered down in the grass amongst the Lapwings, when it would be completely invisible, but good views both in flight and on the ground were had.

Back at Druridge this afternoon it wasn't quite as exciting, with 2 Spoonbills in their usual sleepy state from the Budge Screen as were 4 Black-tailed Godwits, and plenty of Dark Green Fritillaries were in the dunes behind.

I also saw a drake Ruddy Duck this afternoon which made me wonder if I'll ever see another...

BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE - a bit too far for my 400mm lens!

Ruddy Duck

Dark Green Fritillary